Monday, November 26, 2007

Here, there, and everywhere

John Howard was, until Saturday, the Prime Minister of Australia. He held power for 11 years and oversaw a huge upswing in the financial fortunes of Australia.

But he refused to address global warming, despite seven years of drought in Australia that has seen farms abandoned and wildfires threaten the cities. He has been hand-in-glove with George Bush in both Afghanistan and Iraq. These policies were unacceptable to the Australian people, who massively turned away from him and to Kevin Rudd, their next prime minister, who will sign Kyoto and begin the withdrawal of Australian troops.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper goes to the Commonwealth conference in Uganda and isolates us from nearly every other member — including Britain, who's usually on the wrong side of any moral question — by refusing to agree to binding commitments on climate change (the two others were New Zealand and, tellingly, Australia… whoopsy, Mr. Howard…). Harper talks of extending Canada's mission in Afghanistan, when all that really means is expending the lives of Canadian soldiers and Afghan civilians caught in the crossfire.

Polls consistently tell us that these policies are unpopular with the people of Canada. They were unpopular with the people of Australia, too. Mr. Harper, please pick up a newspaper.

Or, better yet… don't.

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